Aung Sann Suu Kyi, Myanmar's 63-year old Nobel Peace Prize winner, begins her trial today for breaching the terms of her house arrest. She is being accused of allowing American John William Yettaw, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, to stay at her house for two days in November 30 2008, after he allegedly swam across a lake to see her.
She will be tried in a court of two judges, no jury, and has been denied legal representation. Her lawyer, prominent activist Aung Thein, had his license revoked a day after Suu Kyi's arrest.
The junta's critics are in general agreement that Yettaw was merely an excuse by the junta to keep Daw Suu Kyi in jail, especially since the terms of her house detention were due to expire on 27 May 2009.
Although Suu Kyi's doctor informed authorities of Yettaw's uninvited visit last year, no action was taken against the man and he was allowed another tourist visa to re-enter the country this month, sources said.
Her arrest comes at a politically critical time, as general elections are being planned for next year. Should she be found guilty, her jail term, which could range from 2-5 years, would bar her from contesting national elections.
Myanmar News.net, 17 May 2009, Burmese junta bars lawyer from defending Suu Kyi, http://www.myanmarnews.net/story/502600
The Age, 18 May 2009, Aung San Suu Kyi's trial begins in Burma http://news.theage.com.au/breaking-news-world/aung-san-suu-kyis-trial-be...
CNN 18 May 2009, Suu Kyi to face two judges at jail court http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/05/17/myanmar.suu.kyi.lawyer/?...
ABC, 18 May 2009, Suu Kyi's trial begins in Rangoon http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/05/18/2573853.htm?section=justin